Cardinal Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, talks with Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze, retired prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, as cardinals arrive for a general congregation at the Vatican March 7, 2013. The cardinal was the last cardinal elector to arrive for the conclave that elected Pope Francis. (CNS/Paul Haring)
XUAN LOC, Vietnam – Cardinal John-Baptist Pham Minh Man of Ho Chi Minh City has shared with fellow bishops of Asia his perspective and approach to accompanying Vietnam’s people as they work to rebuild their lives and reunify their nation after the end of the long war in 1975.
Cardinal Man offered his reflections during a Mass that he led on Dec. 12, 2012, the second full day of the 10th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) at Xuan Loc Pastoral Centre, part of a large compound of the Catholic diocese of Xuan Loc in Dong Nai Province, east of Ho Chi Minh City.
The text of Cardinal Man’s homily follows:
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
In marking 15 years of my journey with the diocesan family, sharing joys and sorrows, worries and hopes with you in the city. There, on the one hand, after 1975, the diocesan family and many people have suffered many losses, loss of wealth, loss of human freedom; on the other hand, today is the freedom of market economy, free competition of life and death, freedom racing material enjoyment only. The freedom that has paved the way for economic development, just make the gulf between rich and poor more and more deeply, making spiritual life and human dignity is increasingly desertification, becomes arid. Fifteen years to accompany his sister is 15 years my faith journey with the ongoing effort to live according to the Word of God teaches with His Wisdom, as a response to the tough challenges of city society populous and complex. Looking back on the journey, I want to share with you the comments from their faith.
1. God is my constant companion. fifteen years of living in this city, by the light of faith, I felt Jesus always accompany us, as after His resurrection accompanied two To the village Emau the subjects in faith and hope of the two men. Together with our Risen Jesus has also been helping us overcome the loss, suffering, hardships in life-changing, and expanding shared devotion to each other the gift of faith that God rewards you for people. So, before the challenges of the society, I always trust in Him, listen to His Word and to bear on the heart, the light of Truth and His Love in daily thoughts and actions. Thus, in the arduous challenge, I feel the Truth and His Love always lead my own weaknesses to overcome fear panic. His gift of faith help me to faithfully pray, humble ministry, and heart at ease for life and the dignity of all people.
2. God always mentoring. My second experience. I feel that the Holy Spirit is working to renew our mind and open our heart to respond to the challenges of social life. So I keep cooperating with Him, helping the people of God, not to be in the right wing or in the left wing, but to walk on the path of Christ, integrating into the cultural tradition, finding in it the seeds of the Word of God, and with it building up the culture of life and civilization of love for our society. I believe that is the way by which Jesus and His Church are proclaiming the Good News and opening for everybody the road to new life in the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Love and Peace.
3. Thirdly, I experience that, with the help of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and after the example of our Blessed Mother and our martyrs, instead of closing themselves in a self-defense attitude, the people of God open their mind and heart to respond to God’s call to love all human beings, believers and non-believers, left wing and right wing, rich and poor, especially those in difficulties.
4. Finally, in my overpopulated city, I feel that there are so many people in need of the living water of Christ. And responding to this need is the responsibility of all Catholics. Therefore, I keep helping every Catholic family and community, first to become the well where Christ is willing to share His Living Water to everybody, and secondly to become messengers of the Good News, sharing joy, faith and hope with their friends and neighbors. I keep doing it, not alone, but with the cooperation of our priests, religious and lay associations, and with hope in our loving God.
So, may we become more sensitive to the Holy Spirit who is working in the deepest aspirations of our peoples, in our cultures and in venerated religious traditions on the continent of Asia. Let us pray that the Holy Spirit guides us to walk on the path of Christ, and to offer the abundant life to our peoples in Asia.
May God bless all of us
Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012
+ John B. Pham Minh Man, Cardinal Archbishop
We recommend the book “Holy Spirit” By Edward Leen. It changed my life. It can change yours too.
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